An extremely important part of living with purpose and striving for success and balance in life is successfully setting and achieving goals. Getting from where you are now to where you aspire to be in the future requires mastering this skill. Much has been written and said about setting goals. One of my favorites is the SMART formula, which states that goals must be:
- Specific: have a clear focus and define precisely what you hope to achieve.
- Measurable: should chart progress along the way. How will you know you have reached your goal?
- Attainable: should be broken into smaller bite size tasks so they aren’t unwieldy.
- Relevant: should represent a noble or vision driven aspiration.
- Time- Bound: should have definite end points or milestones.
The most important aspect of goal setting is aligning your goals with your fundamental purpose. In other words, your goals should be authentic and relevant in that they reflect your highest priorities. You won’t achieve your goals if they don’t embody your core identity in some way. Setting goals aligned with your purpose will insure that you will have the intrinsic motivation and drive to push you forward.
Your goal must answer the “why” about why you are pursuing them in the first place. If you aren’t clear or are unsure-you will never reach your destination. If you set goals in harmony with your core purpose you will have built-in motivation and drive to reach them successfully.
Beyond being relevant your goal must be stated in very specific terms. A goal to lose weight is too nebulous while a goal to weigh 175 lbs. wearing shorts and shirt only hits the mark for specificity. However to be time bound that goal needs a target date for achievement i.e. weigh 175 lbs. wearing shorts and shirt only by December 31st. Goals should stretch us to achieve at a higher level yet be attainable… within the realm of possibility. And of course the goal must be measurable, indeed measured as we take action to acknowledge progress and to re-direct when goal achievement is off-course. In the final analysis it is the acknowledgement of progress and final goal achievement that constitutes success!
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